Often, people who are bedbound or elderly may have trouble caring for their own teeth. Some caregivers are charged with assisting those with motor skill challenges, the very young, and those with behavioral disorders, as well. Regardless of your caregiving situation, oral care is vital for people of all ages to prevent tooth pain, decay, and gum disease.
If you’re a caregiver for anyone who has trouble brushing their teeth, there are methods you can try to make the process easier. Here are four tips for helping someone else maintain their oral hygiene.
1. Stand on the Patient’s Dominant Side
If you are assisting someone with brushing their teeth, it helps to position yourself on their dominant side. For instance, if the patient is left-handed, stand on their left side. Guiding their hand or brushing their teeth for them will feel far more natural and comfortable if you remain on the left side.
2. Use Proper Brushing Techniques
As with your own everyday brushing, proper technique is essential to keeping your care patient’s teeth and gums in optimal health.
Use gentle circular motions and angle the brush toward the gum line to avoid missing any plaque buildup. An electric toothbrush is an effective alternative to a manual toothbrush that makes it easier to clean another person’s teeth.
3. Explain Your Oral Care Steps
Sometimes a person in your care may become nervous or agitated when you try to help them brush their teeth. Try explaining in brief, clear sentences what you are about to do as you help them through each step of their oral care routine. Talking about what you are doing helps the person feel at ease. And it can help dispel anxiety or fear.
4. Use Two Toothbrushes
When you are caring for someone who cannot brush their teeth on their own, you will need to keep their mouth open while you brush. Hold a toothbrush with a thick handle in one hand to gently pull back the person’s cheek and give them a place to rest their teeth while you use the second toothbrush to clean.
Oral Care for Homebound People
Homebound individuals often need varying levels of assistance with their oral care routines. With the help of these strategies above, daily oral care routines will be easier. Always remember to wear disposable gloves whenever caring for someone’s teeth to avoid introducing bacteria.
And if you have any doubts about caring for a bed bound patient’s teeth, ask a qualified dentist knowledgeable about caregiving oral hygiene best practices for advice.
HomeCare Dentists provides a comprehensive range of dental services to homebound patients, from cleanings to X-rays and tooth replacements. Find out more about what services we offer here.